Take a quick look around any restaurant, sports bar, food court or any other dining establishment and it's plain to see that digital menu boards are one of the fastest-growing segments of digital signage. And it's easy to understand why — the screens are smart and stylish, and they give a polished, high-tech feel to the establishment. Equally important, the menus can be updated with ease to reflect new offers, new pricing and new labelling regulations.
The more savvy restaurants are incorporating video into their menu boards, taking their marketing efforts to a whole new level. Integrating dynamic content alongside the core menu information not only creates visual impact, it increases customer engagement with the menu itself and gives restaurateurs the ability entice hungry diners with more than just static text and imagery.
Compelling moving images — imagine a steaming burger, a drink being poured or ice clinking in a glass — prompt a Pavlovian response in customers, often leading to a sale of the featured product. The use of video-based menu boards is finding its way into virtually every category. Salad bars showing fresh ingredients as they're chopped up, coffee shops showcasing a frothy top added to a steaming cappuccino, juice bars showing fresh oranges being fed through a juicer, the possibilities are endless. In each case, the proprietors are using visuals to create a desire for their products, with compelling results.
While it's not unusual to see many of these more innovative video applications in digital menu boards, there exists a great dichotomy within the industry whereby some restaurants are embracing video, and others continue to use digital signage simply as a substitute for a static sign.
Forward-looking restaurateurs understand that their menus are much more than a simple list of what is coming out of the kitchen on a given day. A digital menu board is a valuable sales tool. It's an extension of their brand, and an important point of customer interaction. In most cases, customers engage with the menu board for several minutes, while the actual time spent engaging with the cashier or waiter can be just a fraction of that time. So why not improve the depth and quality of that interaction with rich media that puts customers in the mood to order generously?
Using the best available technology, a "digital menu board" can become a "digital selling board," attracting attention and making the restaurant's tastiest offerings look more tempting than ever.
BrightSign CEO Jeff Hastings joined BrightSign in August 2009 while it was still a division of Roku Inc. In late 2010 with digital signage activities growing so rapidly, BrightSign became a separate firm. The holder of eight U.S. patents, he also has a history of tech industry leadership, including as president of mp3 pioneer Rio.